Commentary

How 3 Brands Make Sure Product Matches What Is Marketed

How does a brand make sure the product experience matches the marketing experience? Communication is key — especially with customers. 

A diverse panel of marketers explored that topic and more during a panel on customer experience at the MediaPost Brand Marketers Insider Summit last week. 

“I don’t think we’re doing a great job at it,” said Ron Weber, senior marketing manager for acquisition at Quicken Inc. He said NPS surveys give the company some information and every other month Quicken talks to customers who have not renewed. That’s where they get a lot of insight as to what went wrong with the product in the customer’s eyes. 

The customer care division in Tucson, Ariz., travels to Menlo Park, Calif, to sit with product marketers to talk about and with customers to validate the marketing. User research with eye-tracking identifies very clearly what is and isn’t working, Weber said. 

Olga Pronin, marketing manager of Wham-O, said marketing speaks to consumers “all the time” and she is using the company’s relatively new social media presence to see complaints, expression of happiness and other emotions. 

“They share pictures and videos of themselves being happy or sad,” Pronin said. “We definitely have a discussion with product development or engineering. We definitely get in touch with a consumer in person. We never put it to robotic answers.” 

The expectation is for instant feedback and instant problem-solving in social media, she added. The company takes care to remember human connections and see its customers as individuals at all times. 

“Wham-O receives messages that are two pages long – filled with emotions. ‘I bought a kite and it didn’t fly that well. It wasn’t flying as high as expected …’ I review all these messages and my heart is broken to pieces,” she said. 

Sending a personal letter expressing how sorry the company was, signing it by hand and mailing it with a product has turned around attitudes, Pronin said. 

“It’s not because it’s a marketing tool; it’s because you want to be human … ‘I’m the same person. I can feel you.’ You can imagine the feedback you get from people when you talk to them person to person,” she said. “When you put a name, a personal touch, it makes a big difference. I’m always open on Facebook and LinkedIn. I think it’s so important for brands to be more humanlike and less corporate. Be open to people and try to see them as people.” 

Robert Davidman, CMO of RubyLife, wrapped up the panel. RubyLife markets “open-minded dating sites” such as Ashley Madison for married people who want to have affairs and Cougar Life for older women looking for younger men. 

Ashley Madison ran into a breach of trust with its customers a few years ago when a data leak revealed the personal information of people using the site. Davidman did not dwell on that as he described the tagline to “find your moment.” 

He offered an example of how it looks at consumer behavior on the site to create new products and enhance existing ones. 

Stats revealed that men and women creating profiles on Ashley Madison seemed to have trouble conveying exactly what they were looking for, so the company created a product allowing someone to purchase a profile makeover and talk to an expert who has seen all the successful profiles. 

Marketing can send a message to a subset of customers, he said, to see if they are interested in the product, how adoption is, and then determine if it will scale. It’s a way to use data and numbers but in a real customer experience that product people can understand.

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